Given Rio de Janeiro’s reputation as a 24-hour party city, and the fact that Brazil is largely a Catholic country, Easter in Rio is a surprisingly low key affair.
While Easter Friday is a public holiday (at least in principle), public transport operates as usual across the Easter weekend, and many shops, bars and restaurants are open. Easter Monday is not a public holiday in Rio, so don’t expect any wild partying to take place on the evening of Easter Sunday. Chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny are part of the Easter festivities in Rio, but there is little in the way of public celebration, although many locals are happy to take the opportunity to raise a glass or two to mark the occasion.
Perhaps because it comes in the wake of the frenzied partying of Carnival, Easter in Rio is more of an opportunity to relax with family and friends than to paint the town red. In fact, the city may feel quieter than usual, as many families take advantage of the holiday weekend to escape the city and head for nearby tourist destinations such as the sunny, beach lovers’ Paradise of Buzios and historic, picturesque Paraty.
If you’re looking for a quiet break at one of the resorts along the coast of Rio de Janeiro State, this is not the time to head off on your travels – the vacation destinations get packed with holidaying Cariocas, and the roads out of the city are painfully dense with traffic.
The famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro itself, meanwhile, are bound to be busy on Easter Friday if the sun shines, but with so many locals heading out of town you shouldn’t have to struggle too hard to find a little elbow room. If the skies stay clear after dark, the hardest partying will be taking place in Lapa, where the street party and the countless bars and clubs attract revellers from far and wide.